A Few Gift Ideas
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
1. Something homemade: Toasted Muesli
Since discovering toasted muesli this past summer, I can’t get enough of it — seriously, we make double batches of it twice a week. Its virtues are countless — healthy, whole grain, full of fiber, gluten free, easy to make, delicious, delicious, delicious — and I can’t introduce enough people to it.
If you are interested in printing these labels at home, these are the two sets of Avery stickers I ordered:
Circular: Avery, 2.5″ diameter, White
Rectangular: Avery, 3″x3.75″, Ivory
Here are the label files to download:
blue & off white
Two other foods I love giving as gifts this time of year are rosemary shortbread and orange and ricotta pound cake. This pinboard has more ideas, too.
2. The Baking Steel
Many of you know that I love my Baking Steel and contribute every month over on the Baking Steel blog, and so I will keep this brief. In sum, I believe that to start making really good pizza at home, you need three things:
1. The Baking Steel, discussed in more depth here.
2. The Jim Lahey pizza dough recipe (or his book: My Pizza). Once you make the Lahey dough, which is a bit wet and sticky, a few times, working with it becomes second nature. No pizza dough comes together faster — it takes five minutes to mix up — and while it does require a long, slow rise, the timing is quite forgiving. I have baked the pizza anywhere from 10 hours to 18 hours after mixing.
3. Tipo 00 flour.
Made on the Steel: Margherita Pizza, Za’atar Flatbread, Arugula & Prosciutto, Apple Galette, Summer Squash & Ricotta, Grapes & Rosemary:
I love my Baking Steel storage sleeve, too:
And this cherry chunk cutting board:
And this flour:
3. Barney Butter
Before my children started attending school a few days a week, they obtained 95% (or something like that) of their calories from peanut butter. Peanut butter, of course, is a no-no at school, and unfortunately other nut butters just don’t cut it for them.
Last week while visiting my sister, who has a son with a peanut allergy, I learned about Barney Butter, an almond butter that magically looks and tastes like peanut butter and, most importantly, fools the little beings I am packing lunches for. Moreover, it is made in a peanut-free facility, which means the children are allowed to bring it to school.
Now, what sorts of weird and wonderful ingredients are packed into Barney Butter to make it spread and taste so deliciously? Mostly good things: dry roasted almonds, evaporated cane juice (sugar, I know, but that I can handle), palm fruit oil (not to be confused with palm kernel oil), sea salt. I found Barney Butter at my local grocery store, but you can order it online as well.
4. Pie Box or Cake Box or anything from Food52’s Provisions
I love my pie box. With or without a pie in it, I just like staring at it, and I think it makes such a fun gift.
You can buy the PieBox and CakeBox in various places, but you might have fun poking around Provisions, the kitchen and home shop created by the beautiful food website, Food52. Santa, I would like one of everything but especially one of these.
If you own Canal House Cooks Every Day, you may have unknowingly read about Boxwood Linen aprons on page 180 and coveted one ever since. For the cook who has everything, one of these beauties might be a nice addition to his/her kitchen.
The same friend who introduced me to the Negroni this past summer also introduced me to this vanilla bean paste, something she had read about in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. What can I say, she has impeccable taste. Vanilla bean paste behaves like a vanilla bean, scattering seeds throughout whatever batter it is mixed into, and imparts a wonderful flavor, too.
6. Lifefactory Bottle
I still absolutely love my Lifefactory glass bottle. I have been sipping tea in it all fall.
7. For the Do-it-yourselfer: A Cheese-Making Kit
I have had this cheese-making kit in my fridge for about a month now, and I cannot wait to get started on making mozzarella, burrata — yes, burrata! — monterey jack, feta, chèvre, cultured butter, and so much more. I will be sure to report back when I do. Perhaps you might want to order one, too? And we could exchange notes?
8. Julia Child Notecards/Holiday Cards
As always, the Julia Child Cards (now available for sale individually) and the Julia Child Holiday Cards (this one and this one) are for sale here.
(Update: Cards are not available at this time … apologies!!)
9. Pearl Sugar, Parchment Paper and a Few Other Things:
Just a few things I love: IndriVanilla Beans, Temecula Olive Oil, Lake Champlain Chocolates cocoa and chocolate, Alfetra Pasta, Fair Trade treats, peelers, parchment paper sold in sheets, pearl sugar, Catamount Flameware measuring cup.
10. Your Favorite Tea Towels Repurposed:
You know those 79 cent Ikea tea towels everyone loves so much? With a few simple stitches, they can be transformed into countless things: napkins, coasters, placemats, bread bags, wine sleeves, to name a few.
Sometimes Anthropologie has fantastic sales on their linens:
11. Vintage Pyrex Bowls and SAF & Red Star Yeast
So, this fall I picked up a Pyrex #441 bowl at a nearby flea market. It soon became my favorite bowl to bake the peasant bread in — the perfectly round shape of the bowl creates a beautiful round loaf. The more I researched the bowl, I discovered it belonged to a set of four nesting bowls (also called Cinderella bowls, specifically the Pyrex #441, #442, #443, #444), which I found for sale/auction on Ebay. I absolutely love the set in general, but I love most of all that I can bake the whole batch of peasant bread in the second largest bowl (#443) and half of the batch in the smallest bowl (#441). The set runs anywhere from $35 to $50 or higher depending on the pattern of the Pyrex.
I have two extra #441 bowls that I would like to give to two of you along with bulk packages of my favorite yeast: Red Star Active Dry and SAF Instant. I have used both of these yeasts for ages, but yesterday I contacted Red Star Yeast to get a little more information on when it’s best to use one or the other. In our brief email exchange, I learned that instant and active dry yeast can be use interchangeably, but that instant yeast is not recommended for refrigerated doughs that would be kept longer than 48 hours. Red Star also recommends using active dry yeast when baking gluten-free doughs, however, many people have had success using both active dry and instant yeast. More information can be found on their website.
Also, you can buy both SAF instant yeast and Red Star active dry yeast in bulk from Amazon. After you open the pouches, transfer yeast to airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer, where they will last forever.
So, if you are interested in this little giveaway, leave a comment. Tell me your favorite holiday movie. We watched Love Actually the second Thanksgiving was over.
Update: The Giveaway is now closed. Alex and Prashanti are the winners.
A few more ideas can be found on last year’s gift guide. And this pinboard, dedicated to homemade food-related gifts, might be helpful, too. Happy cooking and shopping, Everyone!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
77 Comments on “A Few Gift Ideas”
White Christmas!!! Snow, snow, snow, snow, snowwwwwwwwwww! It won’t be long……
It’s an old “made for tv” movie but I love it…. One Magic Christmas… with Mary Steenburgen. I’m not sure why that one touches me so but it does.
I can hardly wait to try the peasant bread. What a brilliant blog you have here. Thank you for sharing your love of food, etc.
My favorite Christmas movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
I love your blog ~ it inspires me to get into the kitchen and cook! I’ve made your Peasant Bread which was such a joy to make and so delicious. I baked it in a flat-bottomed Pyrex glass dish which gave it a bit of an odd shape but still tasty. It would be great to win the Pyrex bowl for future Peasant Breads as there will definitely be many more in my future! Thank you for sharing your recipe!
I’d have to say my favorite holiday movie, at the moment, is Holiday Inn.
What a treat! I just found your blog today from a friends FB post and made your bread in a bowl! I used 1/2 the dough for a homemade pizza crust and we just finished it. The crust is crunchy and delicious.
My favorite holiday movie is a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie that made me cry called “Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle”. What a great story. It’s on again on the Hallmark Channel on Christmas Eve at 12pm if you want to check it out! Hoping to win a pyrex bowl for my new bread in a bowl recipe! Thanks.
Very cool re pizza dough — I’ve never tried that. And thank you for the tip on the movie — sounds great!
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer if for nothing else than Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Man.
Granted, I also count Die Hard as a Christmas movie.
It looks like I will forevermore be scouring all second hand stores for vintage Pyrex, which really just makes sense since I’m already hunting All-Clad pans.
Your blog is best.
I love the idea of toasted muesli, thread bags made from ikea towels….and where did you get the vanilla bean paste??? I think it is the same paste that was used to make that chocolate cake I was talking about after school..right?
Happy Holidays Ali!!!
Preeti, hello! SO fun to see you here! I just subscribed to your blog so that I can keep up with you and all of your delicious creations. I am dying to make paneer and all of those delicious breads: roti, chapati, etc. I could spend hours on your blog! And you can order the vanilla bean paste via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002HQE11O/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002HQE11O&linkCode=as2&tag=alexandrask06-20
I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Happy Holidays to you Preeti! xoxo
I just found your recipe for Peasant bread yesterday and flew to the kitchen to make some. I made two loaves and they were fabulous! The few slices that were left this morning were soft and delicious …..ate them for breakfast. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Heading to the kitchen to make more. We ♥ it!
Since I discovered your Mother´s Peasant Bread some years ago, never have enjoyed making bread – so simple to make, yet so fulfilling in how many wonderful ways you can “add a little something”
This past weekend I decided to try something different so rather than use 2 x #441 bowls (which belonged to my mother, bless her!!) I wanted to make a sandwich like loaf so with half the dough went into a #441 and the other half went into a Pyrex glass 2Q bowl. All seemed going to plan, both grew again in their bowls but somewhere along the baking, in the 2Q bowl when I opened the oven, the centre had collapsed. My thinking was maybe when I lowered the temperature after 15mins, may be this caused the problem but this did not affect the one in the #441 (which was devoured almost instantly!!) so any ideas why this may have happened?
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and congratulate for all the great recipes you have posted but more importantly how to cook those recipes which makes all the difference when you are not a professional chef !!
With kind regards,
PS For all those that don´t have butter to grease the bowl(s) I have used lard and works just as well and as someone had asked, I doubt if any kind of vegetable oil will work as I have tried with two without success.