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All the content from this blog has been moved to our new
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to ...

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide ~ The Foodie

My love of good food and great kitchen gadgets made it easy for me to pick the Foodie for my next round of unique gift suggestions. If you have a Foodie in your life, especially one who loves to cook - and cook for you! - then you are in luck. It was hard for me to narrow the in house choices down to six items, but here they are....

Garlic Crusher by Royal VKB

This is one of those kitchen tools you wish had been around years earlier. You've tried all the other garlic presses, peelers and crushers. You get minute amount of useful garlic from most presses - the bulk of it stays squashed inside the press. You've tried to get all Chef-y with your knife and, if you're me, have to start over after you lose some fingernail bits in with the garlic. Ugh! No more, no more. I can't explain it as well as the video shows it but I can say this is the one I want by my side, forevermore, when I'm cooking.

Letter Serving Set by Sagaform

This product is often overlooked and that is a shame. Pesto, chutney, salsa, pastes, tapenade, sauces, spreads and dips. Forked, flat and concave - each one of the three piece serving set is designed to hang from a jar. As each piece is assigned its very own condiment, you will no longer find chunks of pepper relish in your mayo. Thoughtful, clever and available at a terrific "stocking stuffer" price point. I think this product's time has come.


Whether baking in them or just using them for serving dishes, Hot stoneware goes from kitchen to table in stunning style. Generously sized, pristine white and with a simple, elegant, natural wood trivet to rest upon. The trivet is smart and elevates your dishes to new heights!

Big Time

So, yeah, your oven has a built-in timer. You don't really need a kitchen timer. Though I've been known to sometimes point out the differences between needs and wants, in this case I say need schmeed! Its big, its boldly colored, its fun, it looks good on the counter!

Herb Pot/Herb Pot Trio

Freeze dried herbs will do in a pinch (nyuk, nyuk), but for the ones you use on a regular basis why not use fresh? Because we live in a temperate climate and winter tends to kill vegetation? Oh, pshaw! With an Herb Pot old man winter can't impose his blandness on your dishes! Place your fresh herbs in the pot, add water via the corner hole and extend the life of fresh cut herbs. I use mine with planted herbs in a 2" terra cotta pot. Water via the base keeps the pot moist which provide my herbs with enough moisture to keep them happy. Rather than buying fresh at the store I can simply snip and enjoy!

Make 'Em Smile with...
Batter Finger and Equal Measure

I couldn't pick just one so here's two products from the folks who make great things with a sense of whimsy... the nice people at Fred. No need to get fingers all gooey when going for the last bits of batter in the bowl. Measure, mix and then lick your Batter Finger clean!

I've been promising myself I was going to do it and today is the day. I'm putting up one of my favourite recipes with ingredients as measured with the Half Measure cup. Why not copy my fabulous, super chocolaty, chewy and just crispy enough on the outside brownie recipe, pop your printed version in the Half Measure and gift it, along with a Batter Finger to your favourite foodie? Guaranteed for a giggle or two.

Equal Measure Brownies

2 Sticks of unsalted butter
8 Ounces of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
4 Large eggs
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
A smidgeon less than the water in a cumulus cloud the size of a bus of Sugar
1.25 equivalent of five thousand drops of water o Firmly packed brown sugar
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1.75 amount of table salt in a large human of All purpose flour

Butter and line a 13" x 9" baking pan.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and turn off heat. Combine butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl and place in pan of water. Stir from time to time until chocolate is melted.

Whisk eggs until well beaten. Add and continue to whisk; sugar, salt, brown sugar and vanilla.

Stir in butter and chocolate mixture.

Fold in flour.

Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.

Now, here's the trick to a nice crispy outside... Place your pan of prepared batter in the fridge for at least an hour! When your batter is nicely chilled pop the pan into an oven preheated to 350 degrees - on the center rack. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. You can be sure they are ready when the top is shiny and they are somewhat firm. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide ~ The Love of Your Life

Its The Little Things.

Life, in general, isn't comprised of a series of great, big events. Great big events are typically the defining moments in our lives... buying your first car. Taking possession of your first house. Getting married. Having a baby, or three. We remember these things well as they alter and impact our lives in a drastic way. What shapes us, and influences the Big Events, are the little things.

I know. Cliche. But true.

If the man you marry turns out to be a couch potato with the tv remote grafted to his hand - that is what will define your marriage twenty five years down the road. If, on the other hand, he brings you flowers now and again (cliche again - but sweet nonetheless), tells you how happy he is he found you, makes conversing with you a priority over that Cheers or Mash re-run and, in many other ways, makes you aware that he appreciates and loves you... you will likely weather inevitable storms together and do it well. Twenty five years down the road you will likely still feel like a honeymooner.

It really is the little things that make a difference. Which is why we paid special attention to little somethings when searching for sweet things to stuff a stocking with. Here are six ways you can say "I adore you." "You really are special." "I was paying attention."

Share your music - up close and personal.


SplitterBot looks to me like he's about to lose his head over a big crush - wide eyed and trying his best to impress with a cool smile. Actually he's ready to lose his head for you and your crush. Load up her (or his) mp3 player with 'your songs', pop off SplitterBot's head and plug him in to the player, insert two sets of ear buds into the ports and snuggle up together to trip down memory lane.

Say it and say it again...

Nothing warms the cockles (what, exactly IS a cockle anyway?) like hearing those magical three words. You can never hear that too many times. When you're not around to say it, let this little sprout say it for you. Laser etched bean lets love bloom with its sweet sentiment.

Saving for something special?

I hear, from time to time, "we're going light on gifts this year cuz we're saving for.... a house, a vacation, our wedding". Celebrate that commitment with a Nest Egg. Big, beautiful and clean ceramic egg with a wide slot for deposits. Um, but you have to actually break this bank to get the goods out. That seems like a waste, and a shame because it really is pretty to look at. What to do? Save your deposit slips! When you've reached your savings goal, make a note and date the egg. Then keep it somewhere special where it will tweak memories of that special occasion!

Take a cooking class together.

I like to cook but I'm not good enough to teach anyone else. I can suggest it, though, as a great couple gift. And a great way to spring that on your love is by tucking a note, or certificate, into something more substantial than an envelope. Say.... the Intelligent Apron! What makes it so smart? Little things, always little things! Like... the button adjustable neck loop. The elasticized ties (I hate 7 miles of tie to trip over on an apron). The buttons on the bib for hanging dish towels (clever!) and the split apron with (are you ready for this?) built in oven mitts!

Add a little ambience to your ambiance.

I don't have to tell you candle light sets a mood. Usually a warm, tender mood. A Chalkboard candle, a delightfully scented soy wax chalkboard candle, can make everyone in proximity glow with a sweet sentiment on prominent display. Use the included chalk to draw a picture of love, suggest something naughty, write a poem or simply say "I love you". Wipes clean so you can share your mutual admiration. Burn time of the candle is approximately 30 hours. Vessel can be used forever more.



Rejoice that you found each other. In this big old world disappointment is relatively easy to find. I believe that every convivial couple is a miracle of sorts. A line from one of my favourite movies goes something like this... "Two people could be across the room from each other and never find each other. Two others could be on opposite ends of the world... and nothing could keep them apart." One bottle of something sparkly. Two beautifully quirky glasses. And thou.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gal on the Go!

Up. Dress. Breakfast. Dishes done. Kitchen tidied. Homework checked. Kid(s) badgered into being ready on time. Laundry in the dryer. Recycling out. Messages checked. Emails answered. Bills sorted. Appointments double checked. Grocery list updated. Pets fed. Lunch(es) made. Lights out. Door locked.

And now you're ready to start the day!

Working women, working moms, stay at home moms.... we're all busy. I've always likened our minds to a file-o-fax. Little cards constantly triggering new cards as we flip through them in the course of a day. We barely have time to take care of ourselves (she types as she notices that the polish on her fingers is badly worn).

We know we feel better when we treat ourselves well but we often put other things ahead of ourselves - usually with a sigh of "some day".

Want to treat yourself better? Then treat yourself to one of these....

Contents: Hairspray, Clear Nail Polish, Nail Polish Remover, Emery Board, Lip Balm, Earring Backs, Clear Elastics, Sewing Kit, Double-Sided Tape, Stain Remover, Deodorant Towelette, Pain Reliever, Tampon, Breath Freshener, Dental Floss, and Adhesive Bandages.

This handy little kit fits in the palm of your hand and contains 16 essentials for the Gal on the go!

Deodorant towelette! There's a 'why didn't I invent that' if I've ever seen one! Earring backs? Now that's a thoughtful inclusion! How, I know you're wondering, do they fit all that in a teeny tiny pouch? Because the smart gals at Ms & Mrs package them all up in adorable, wee little vessels and single use pouches. Emergency servings of beauty essentials.

Refill your handy pouch from your vanity drawers and, for those brilliant, single use items (did we mention deodorant towelettes!) you can pick up refills at our house, by the six pack or in singles.

Sure, you can try and put together your own kit. But I defy you to do it for $12 (and find deodorant towelettes!).

Carrying a large-ish bag? Travelling? Just not feeling all of your needs will be met with a Mini*mergency kit? Of the go-big-or-go-home school of thought? The brilliant mother and daughter team at Ms & Mrs know how to think small in a really big way....


Contents: folding hair brush with mirror, hair spray, clear elastics, earring backs, hand lotion, nail clipper, emery board, clear nail polish, nail polish remover, mending kit, safety pin, double-sided tape, lint remover, shoe shine wipes, stain remover, static remover, breath freshener, lip balm, dental floss, pain reliever, deodorant wipes, tampon, adhesive bandages, facial tissues.

I took my She*mergency kit on a recent trip overseas and used 6 items which I was glad to have readily available!

I think these will be a hit as unique gifts and stocking stuffers for the busy women we all know!