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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Holiday Gift Guide

Over Thanksgiving I hopped behind couches, slipped into a closet and even snuck out a backdoor. Yes, I was playing hide-and-go-seek with my not quite 5 year old niece. And every time she found me and we switched places (she'd hide, I'd seek), she'd adopt my last hiding place. While it made finding her a breeze, I kind of understood her thinking. If it's good enough for auntie Amy then it must be good enough for me.

Which brings me to the topic of holiday shopping. I don't think anyone has ever had a hard time finding me a present. I am pretty clear on what I like. Often I buy what I want for myself for others, which is where my thinking is on par with that of my niece...

So without further ado here are my top picks, presents I have actually given and truly, madly believe in. These are gifts that please me, but I'm betting they'll please you or someone you know too.

Kitchen Gear

Butter Keeper.It comes in other colors too, but isn't the orange pretty? Keeps your butter fresh, soft and within your reach. I bought this in red for my sister last year.

Heat-resistant spatulas. Ok everybody just needs to have these. They will forever change the way you cook scrambled eggs.

Microplane.The best grater/zester ever, accept no substitute. I have gotten and given this one.

Kyocera peeler.You can even peel winter squash with this!

Remote thermometer. Unchain yourself from the stove once and for all. I bought one for me and one for my parents.


Madras Curry mustard. This is just so yummy! It's my favorite mustard.

Truffle salt. Use this on tomatoes, potatoes, etc. An affordable luxury.

Truffle honey. Oh my goodness, this drizzled on blue cheese is heavenly!

Fudge is My Life sauce.Contains no corn syrup, is microwaveable and delicious right out of the jar. I bought tons of it last year for friends.

McQuade's Celtic chutney.Alison's chutneys are a delight. Enjoy the vibrant flavors and colors. Last year I bought Fig and Ginger for friends. This year I bought the Melon and Peach, the Cranberry Tangerine and the Habanero, but I'm not sharing!

Sonoma syrups.These syrups inspire me in the kitchen, but they are also great for making cocktails or even for sweetening ice tea. The Black Currant, Lemon and Lavender flavors are favorites, but they're all good. No artificial flavors or colors.

Maggie Beer Burnt Fig jam. There is nothing like this jam, if you love figs you have got to try it!

MarieBelle Hot chocolate. What can I say? My mother-in-law loves this stuff and I can't blame her.

Food-inspired Indulgences

Breath Palette toothpaste. This is just a fun product, the flavors only last for a minute so don't be scared!

Honey I Washed the Kids soap.The most scrumptious honey scented soap around.

Fresh Sugar candle.Ok it's pricey but very luxurious and smells divine, equally wonderful are the Demitasse and Sake versions.