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.
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.
Is there a panini press on your wishlist? (image: Cuisinart Panini Press)
Whether you’re cooking for a family or just for one, a Panini maker can help dress up an ordinary sandwich. Here are the most popular Panini makers, plus healthy recipes to print and attach to your gift.
We’re kicking off the holiday season with 12 Days of Holiday Gifts — gifts that are both homemade and gifts you can buy at the store for your loved ones this season. Day 1: Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Sticks that you can make with your kids.
Make a homeade stock out of your Thanksgiving leftovers and turn it into 3 easy soups.
You can only heat up a plate of gravy-drenched turkey dinner leftovers so many times! Go a little lighter with your Thanksgiving memories by making any of these 3 easy and tasty soups. They all start out with a fresh pot of stock made with stuff you’ve got lying around the kitchen.
Don’t toss out the remnants of your turkey! Go the extra mile and turn it into an amazingly delicious stock. A large pot, some water and vegetable scraps (you’ve definitely got those around) and you’re set. Let it simmer away while the family settles into a cozy food coma.
Basic Turkey Stock
Makes 2 quarts
1 roasted turkey carcass (from a 10-pound turkey)
2 pounds raw vegetable scraps (carrots, celery, onions, leeks and garlic recommended)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Combine ingredients in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a slow boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 2 to 3 hours. Strain and transfer to quart containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Turkey, stuffing and pie, oh my! Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for people looking to manage their weight because it is a holiday that:
1) Primarily focuses on food
2) Signifies the start of the holiday season which is full of parties, celebrations and special family meals. And unfortunately, most of these celebrations are not serving huge platters of veggies, grilled chicken, hummus and whole wheat pita with fruit for dessert!
While an all-day eating holiday like Thanksgiving can wreak havoc on otherwise good eating habits, one non-ideal meal (or day) does not lead to pounds of weight gain. The big issue for many is how to deal with the days following Thanksgiving when we have lots of temptations to keep the celebration going on. Friday (all those leftovers) and Saturday (well I’ve already gone overboard so may as well enjoy myself) and Sunday (I’ll start fresh on Monday) and Monday (I wanted to eat better but my coworkers brought in pie/cake and leftovers!) and . . . you get the idea.
Indulge, but don't overdo it on Turkey Day with our easy tips.
We’re not going to tell you to give up your beloved turkey and stuffing, so you can breathe easy and keep reading. But there are some super simple strategies you can use to help keep calories in check while still enjoying your meal.
Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season where friends, family, and loved ones gather to have one fantastic meal after another. It’s not the time to skimp on those food safety habits that can make or break the festivities. Here are some simple reminders.
Purchasing the Goodies
At the market, be sure you check the quality of all the products you buy. Look at the color, firmness, and texture of the produce and meats and don’t forget to check the expiration dates on packaged foods. Once you pay for your groceries, be sure to get them stored in the proper place immediately—refrigerator, freezer or pantry. A few extra stops on the way home is plenty of time for bacteria to have a party on your food.
Make room for your turkey—overcrowding your freezer or fridge can actually raise temperatures dangerously high and spoil your food and ruin your equipment.
Here's one for the bread basket: homemade biscuits, portioned right.
Store-bought biscuit dough is full of hydrogenated oils (a.k.a. trans fats) but homemade biscuit recipes call for large servings of shortening or butter. We aren’t revolutionizing the biscuit, just making them in a more portion-conscious way.
Most recipe yields are for 8 to 10 pieces, which means a 300-plus calorie bread to go along with your meal. Below is a traditional biscuit recipe portioned out to keep the calories in check.