With my love for all things food and specialty kitchen items I am always on the look look out for new products. I am excited to share with you monthly list of curated small batch, artisan and unique products. Although it is always fun to shop the markets, we don’t always have time to travel the world to find all the specialty items that we would want in our own kitchen. I hope you love the products I find and come back each month for more!
Chocolate is a favorite treat throughout the year, but the month of February makes us crave it a little more. With so many decadent recipes and creative ideas, it’s a great Valentine’s Day gift for the ones we love. Plus, everything tastes better with a little chocolate.
1. Chocolate sugar lip scrub
A little scrub goes a long way, so why not throw in two of our favorite ingredients, chocolate and sugar? The lifestyle blog Live Laugh Rowe shows us how chocolate is not only delicious to eat but is also full of antioxidants and will rid you of those dry lips during cold weather.
2. Chocolate-covered bacon
Although it is hard to make bacon any better, the food blog Around My Family Table takes it to the next level by dipping it in semisweet chocolate for the perfect sweet and smoky treat.
3. Chocolate hazelnut spread
A rich addition to fruit, crackers or toast, this spread is a perfect gift to share. A combination of chocolate, hazelnuts, sugar, butter and cream featured on the website Epicurious, the treat also can be spooned over ice cream or swirled into brownies.
4. Hot chocolate spoons
With only three simple ingredients — sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate chips — these handmade chocolate molds from the Adventures of Cake Girl blog will keep you warm all winter long.
5. Chocolate almond bark
Chocolate bark is one of the easiest and prettiest gifts you can make. There are no rules and really no recipe required. Bon Appetit has a recipe for a salty, sweet bark, but feel free to sprinkle in your choice of nuts, dried fruit or candy pieces.
6. Chocolate cream shooters
Whether you need a cocktail or a mocktail, chocolate cream shooters will win your heart. Food Network shares one of its favorite chocolate drinks filled with rich chocolate syrup, half and half, and a shot of seltzer water to make it foam.
7. Chocolate peanut butter pretzel balls
Two pantry staples, peanut butter and pretzels, make it easy to whip these up for a Valentine’s Day celebration. This bite-size candy was created with the perfect amount of salty, sweet and crunch. It will be hard to have just one.
8. Chocolate caramels
These little gems fall somewhere between the chewiest caramels and decadent dark chocolate fudge. If you are a lover, play around with the different intensities and choose your favorite brand to make these bite-size confections your very own.
With the hustle and bustle that goes on during the holidays, I love the idea of edible gifting. This is an inexpensive way to share a favorite recipe or family tradition with the ones you love. Whether it is homemade or purchased at your favorite neighborhood store, keep it simple and make something special with creative packaging.
1. Homemade vanilla extract
One of the most popular ingredients in baking, homemade vanilla extract is a perfect holiday gift. Choose your favorite alcohol: vodka, rum, or bourbon along with whole vanilla beans. Give the extract at least one month to infuse before packaging and gifting for your favorite baker.
Caramel corn is a classic but can only get better when you add a drizzle of white and dark chocolate, and a sprinkle of peppermint. It will keep you coming back for another bite — the perfect party snack or gift.
A simple and elegant gift mixed with a variety of dried fruit and nuts, this is a great gift without getting your hands dirty in the kitchen. Check out your local gourmet market and find an assortment of sweet, spicy, and chocolate- or candy-coated nuts and dried fruit. Packaged in a basket or tray, this pairs perfectly with a bottle of wine.
4. S’mores Kit
Cold weather, burning fireplaces and roasted marshmallows are the best memories of a busy holiday. Share the love with adults or kids by gifting an adorable S’mores kit. Clear acrylic boxes, graham crackers, large marshmallows and chocolate bars are all you need to create this sweet package from the craft blog, Twig & Thistle.
Edible gifting is not always sweet. Combine your favorite fresh herbs or citrus zest with room temperature butter. Transfer the chilled log of flavored butter into a layer of plastic wrap and onto parchment paper, rolling it up and tying the ends with kitchen twine or jute. It’s a great foodie gift from gourmet food blog, The Fromagette.
6. Herb Salt
Use any dried herbs you have in your kitchen cabinet for this gift idea from The Pretty Blog. Herb salt can be made well in advance with rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley or basil mixed with sea salt for a great addition to any meat, fish or vegetable dish.
If you need the perfect gift for office mates, this is it: a selection of petit cookies sectioned off in small ornament boxes wrapped in cellophane. The recipe from Sweet Paul Magazine requires no baking.
For this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, whole almonds are seasoned with fresh rosemary, a dash of chili powder, and salt, and then roasted in the oven, filling your home with an amazing aroma. The almonds are a great source of protein, packed with flavor, to balance all the sweets being consumed this month.
I have always loved celebrating Mother’s Day and pampering my mom with gifts but since becoming a of mommy, I realize it is so much more than the that. Sharing this day with my mom, my sister and all the other mom’s in our family allows me to take in how blessed we are to have each other and have the privilege to raise our mini’s! Trust me, not everyday is sunshiny, but I would not trade it for the world! So, instead of focusing on any big extravagant gifts, make this day about each other and find something unique to share with one another. Here are some of my favorites that I am loving right now and your mom might too!
A few weekends ago, my husband, two girls and I spent the whole weekend outside planting herbs and new flowers and since than, I can’t stop thinking about what else we can do and searching for some tools and decorative pieces.
So if you have some time this weekend and have the gardening bug like me, here are some of my favorites!
On a side note of cute things…I also feel it is very important to share a solution to any squirrel problems you might have once you plant all these aromatic herbs. We seem to attract these furry little animals and they don’t go away. I have tried several things to keep them away and I think I have finally found the key.
Natural Squirrel Repellent:
mix the solution in a spray bottle and let it sit over night
spray on the dirt surrounding your plants…IT REALLY WORKS!
My favorite part of celebrating St. Patricks day is wearing, decorating and eating all things green (maybe not all things)! Green is a great color this year for spring, so it makes it super easy to decorate your house for this beer drinking holiday. I have rounded up some of my favorite green things as well as one of the most unique items; Guinness and Irish Cream Marshmallows. I know a lot of people might not choose Guinness as a drink of choice, but it is actually really tasty when paired with anything made with sugar. Get your table set, frosted mugs out, and corn beef sliced…enjoy the holiday!
Two weeks ago, my husband and I escaped for a quick trip to New York City! With a few delays at the start of our trip (Dallas ice storms) we were ready and excited to explore the city and find the best restaurants and local food artisans. Even after living in New York and going to culinary school in the city, there are always the newest and greatest things to discover and this is why we keep going back! As we were planning the trip, our days revolved around where we were going to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ate at some of the greatest restaurants, but what I found even more satisfying were the markets that local artisans sell their wares. There are so many talented bakers, chocolatiers, candy makers and chefs, but these are some of my favorites and they are all made in NYC.
on a side note…if you want a one stop shop, exploding with Italian specialties (most products made in Italy), you have to find yourself at Eataly. We were totally overwhelmed but managed to eat everything that crossed our sight. If you can’t make it to NYC soon, check out the website…you will be in Italian Heaven!
Happy December!! I can’t believe Thanksgiving has come and gone…I am sure you are stuffed from your family gatherings and all your turkey and pie leftovers, but we are going to keep the holiday cheer going. Now that we are in the home stretch for Christmas, parties, baking and gifting are on your mind. I absolutely love this time of year, there is a hustle and bustle on the streets and in our home and in our family, a big tradition and something my Nanny passed down is a massive amount of cookie baking throughout December. Most cookie recipes have a history. They could come from a specific culture or family tradition passed down through generations and the perfect way to share these cookies….Host a Cookie Exchange. Here’s what you need…
1. guest list…this will determine how many cookies each person will need to bring
example: 24 invites…each person brings 24 cookies
2.invitation (mail or email)
3.recipe card for each person to share their cookie recipe
4. boxes & ribbon
6.cakestands and platter
7.your family favorite cookie to share…above is one of my favorite chocolate crinkle cookies (recipe by: whats gaby cooking)
8. cocktail or mocktail for guests to enjoy
I hope you will celebrate the season with your friends and family at your own cookie exchange. Happy Baking!