by Victoria Phillips in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, December 12, 2011
by Katie Cavuto-Boyle in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, December 11, 2011
You can’t always control what others are serving up at holiday parties, but you can control what you eat the rest of the time. Fight the battle of the holiday bulge by portioning out ingredients for meals. Being mindful of what you’re eating at home allows for a little more indulgence when you’re on holiday party number three for the week.
This Kitrics Perfect Portions Digital Scale takes the guesswork out of portion control. Keep track of calories, carbs, sodium and protein with ease—the built-in nutrition facts calculator does all the work for you. You can even save the calorie totals for weekly tracking. So go ahead, get a jump-start on New Years’ resolutions and get your portions in check in the coming year.
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by Michelle Buffardi in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, December 10, 2011
Everyone loves chocolate, right? So what better gift could you give? Homemade chocolate bark is as simple as it gets but it looks elegant and tastes fantastic. The bonus: you can really get creative with your toppings and many go to options are really good for you. Use a really good dark chocolate as the base and try nuts (unsalted are best) which are packed with heart healthy fats and unsweetened, dried fruits which are rich in antioxidants. Here are a few recipes and some of my favorite topping combinations. And you’re not limited to dark or milk chocolate, try Robin’s White Chocolate Bark from day 6 of our 12 Days of Holiday Gifts.
by Michelle Buffardi in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, December 9, 2011
- Give homemade treats, without turning your oven on.
The idea of truffles sounds so very fancy, but the secret is: they’re actually really easy to make (don’t tell the fancy chocolatiers we let the cat out of the bag on that one!). Food Network Kitchen‘s truffle cookies are made with naturally sweet ingredients like dates and honey, instead of the milk and sugar used in traditional truffles. And you can roll them in whatever you like: chopped nuts, cocoa powder, coconut, or a combination for the prettiest presentation. Get the kids to help with these, it’s fun to roll the ingredients up into balls, and tiny helping hands make for fast work.
by Katie Cavuto-Boyle in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, Healthy Holidays, December 8, 2011
- Give the gift of wine, but personalize it with easy ideas from Food Network Magazine. (image courtesy of Food Network Magazine)
Wine makes a great holiday gift; it’s usually the hostess gift of choice, the default item grabbed at the last minute on the way to a holiday party. This year, put a little more thought into it — for about 5 minutes of extra time, you can package your last-minute gift in a way that’ll make it seem like you did all your shopping back in August.
In Food Network Magazine‘s December issue, there’s a great story on how to make holiday spirits brighter by decking your gift bottles out in really easy ways. With the bottle above, it’s as simple as grabbing a sparkly paint pen.
by Dana Angelo White in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, Healthy Holidays, December 7, 2011
- Give them something sweet this year.
Looking to treat the sweet tooth on your gift list to something a bit unique this holiday season? Homemade flavored honeys are a perfect fit.
- Start with a mild but tasty honey like wildflower. I think using a local variety makes the gift all the more special.
- Add your own special twist:
- You can add mild herbs like lavender and chamomile, or stronger flavors like rosemary or mint directly to the jar and let them steep. For a more intense flavor, warm the herbs and the honey just slightly in a saucepan then re-jar once cooled.
- The same process works for spices and zest. Warm some honey with lemon or orange zest to add some brightness or spices like dried hot peppers or cardamom for a more savory twist.
- Label the jars and adorn with a festive bow.
What would you add to your honey to make it unique?
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by Robin Miller in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, Healthy Holidays, December 6, 2011
- Fill their stockings with useful gifts this year.
Stockings are a big deal in my family so coming up with fun, creative, and USEFUL gifts are a must. Here are 5 goodies for the food lover in your life. Best of all, they won’t break the bank!
1.) Penzey’s Spices
Give the gift of flavor with everything from four-color peppercorns to Vietnamese cinnamon
2.) Parchment Paper Half-Sheets
No more fumbling to flatten rolled up pieces of parchment! These make covering your baking sheets a breeze.
by Dana Angelo White in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, Healthy Holidays, December 5, 2011
- Make some chocolate bark for the shining stars on your holiday list.
I adore chocolate bark. It’s one of the easiest candies to make and you can cram whatever you want into your favorite chocolate variety – white, milk, semi-sweet, bittersweet or a combination of chocolates swirled together. I had fun with this sensational bark because I blended flavors and textures: salty, crisp pretzels, chewy, sweet cranberries and crunchy, nutty almonds. You can change the recipe to create whatever you want – swap peanuts for almonds and/or dried cherries for cranberries (and you can leave out the pretzels). Or ditch the nuts and fruit and just add pretzels. Because the chocolate is white and the cranberries are red, I think this makes an excellent gift for friends and family (for the ultimate holiday colors, use green pistachios and dried cherries or cranberries). Once the chocolate hardens, break the bark into pieces and place them in a cookie tin or decorative box adorned with ribbon (I went simple this year and brought the bark to my boys’ teachers on foiled-line paper plates with plastic wrap and a big silver bow). Happy Holidays!
by Janel Ovrut Funk in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, The Veggie Table, December 4, 2011
Trying to keep alcohol consumption modest this holiday season? Make the most of your celebratory sips with these sweet, tangy, spicy and even herbaceous homemade vodka infusions.
Spiking vodka with seasonal flavors makes a festive and creative gift. A 1.5 fluid ounce “shot” of vodka contains about 100 calories and most infusions add no additional calories. Those made with sugar will add 15 calories per teaspoon.
by Robin Miller in 12 Days of Holiday Gifts, Healthy Holidays, December 3, 2011
- Fresh herbs, even in winter.
Do you have someone one your holiday gift list who loves to cook with fresh herbs? Give the gift of flavor this year – and the magic of a guaranteed green thumb – with the AeroGarden. I received this three years ago as a gift and cannot believe how effortlessly I’m able to grow fresh herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, or even flowers year-round. My AeroGarden sprouts fresh herbs so rapidly, I oftentimes find myself giving sprigs of thyme and dill to neighbors and family members. This, coming from someone who can’t keep a houseplant alive for more than a week (no exaggeration)!
I love having fresh basil, dill, thyme, and sage, growing right in my apartment ready to be plucked and added to recipes for a kick of flavor and a punch of the antioxidants that are packed in fresh herbs.
- Give the gift of homemade macaroons this year.
Every holiday season, I make loads of confections for the amazing people in my life. That includes teachers, delivery people, friends and neighbors. Last year I gave out chocolate covered pretzel rods (with colored sprinkles on some and slivered almonds on the rest — similar to Toby’s recipe) and garlic-parmesan bread twists (made with puff pastry and presented in pretty vases with big red bows). This year, I made macaroons because my son adores them and they’re incredibly easy to make. I made one big batch and dunked half of them in melted semi-sweet chocolate (for some reason, my chocolate-loving son Kyle didn’t want his dunked!). Check out how short this ingredient list is and how easy they are to make! You can even quadruple the recipe and take care of everyone on your holiday list.